From August to June, teachers work long days – lesson planning, grading, coaching teams, coordinating after school events, meeting with parents, going to faculty meeting… the list of your responsibilities goes on. All of this while striving to maintain some semblance of work-life balance and not always being able to do it.
But when summer rolls around, it’s time to recharge, reconnect and practice some serious self-care. Teacher burnout is a real thing. If you’re going to return to your students at the end of summer, you need to first find inspiration, explore your own passions and, of course, rest.
Sometimes getting away is the best way to relax and rejuvenate. Sure, vacations come with a price tag, but one of the benefits of teaching is that you can leverage your status as a teacher to earn travel discounts.
Vacation Deals for Teachers
Hit the High Seas
Some cruise companies offer special discounts to teachers and to school personnel. Even retired teachers can take advantage of the reduced rates. After a school year filled with decision-making, you’re going to love that your most-pressing decision on a cruise ship is choosing dinner from an all-inclusive restaurants.
Many Hilton hotels and its related brands across the U.S. offer a discount to school employees. Some even offer 10 percent off at the hotel restaurant. Red Roof Inn offers a 20 percent discount to National Education Association members at over 520 locations nationwide. Not an NEA member? Check discounts available through other professional memberships. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers teachers a special room rate.
Mix Work and Play
Is there a conference for educators this summer that you could extend into a fun vacation? For instance, check out this National Teacher Leadership Conference in Las Vegas. Or the International Society for Technology in Education is taking place June 24-27 in Chicago—there’s no better time to go to the Windy City than early summer.
If you’re considering traveling abroad, you’ll want an International Teacher Identity Card. It’s the only universally accepted travel discount card for earning sometimes steep discounts at museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions. Some restaurants and shops also honor the ITIC. The card costs $25 and includes basic travel insurance.The ITIC can also get you discounted international flights abroad through STA Travel.
Long before Airbnb, teachers started swapping summer spaces via Teacher Home Swap. Go to the website, enter your desired destination and view homes of teachers who are willing to swap. When you find an ideal location, if the teacher wants to visit your city, the website helps you schedule an exchange. Free housing!
Finally, always ask. Lots of places offer discounts to teachers but don’t advertise it.
Other Ways to Travel
We’ve been talking about how to travel on the cheap with teacher discounts, but there are a few ways that teachers can travel free. Of course, you must do some work, but there are ways that you can see the world and experience other cultures without spending a lot.
Get a Grant to Travel
There are competitive grant programs that allow teachers to design their own enrichment trips. The U.S. Department of Education, professional organizations and some nonprofits offer grants so teachers can expand their knowledge of subject matters.
Study Science in a Working Lab
Consider the Teacher at Sea program. You can get hands-on research experience on the NOAA-sponsored program. The government agency covers the entire cost including your travel to the boat and a daily food allowance.
More Work and Play
Chaperoning student travel is work. There are a number of companies that will help you create an itinerary and make travel plans. If you sign up six students to travel, your travel is free. Teach Spanish? Head to Barcelona to practice your language skills. Teach biology? Go to the Galapagos to study where Darwin studied.